Thursday, November 12, 2009

How to Watch a Silent Movie

I juts started getting into silent films in the last couple of years.

And even then mainly because of my friend Jameson and his monthly Silent Music Revival, a showing of a silent film with a band providing live music accompaniment.

 He's suggested several films for me to check out since then and now I'm quick to take advantage of an opportunity to see a silent film.

The Richmond Moving Image Co-Op (the people who do the Italian Film Fest, the James River Film Fest, Flicker and more) started a 4-part Silent Classics series last week and today I went to see Buster Keaton in "College" at the downtown library's auditorium.

Keaton was just as stone-faced as I'd been told he always was and the film showed off his surprising athletic prowess as he tried to win the most popular girl on campus.

The film was released in 1927, so there were references to colored waiters and girls being expelled for having a boy in their room.

Very quaint.

VCU's film guru Mike Jones spoke before the film and told the audience that we'd be seeing the film on 16mm, a rare treat these days and only because Randolph-Macon College divested itself of all its old 16mm films about seven years ago and VCU was the lucky recipient.

As Jones pointed out, there's a certain retro pleasure to watching a film accompanied by the whirring of the projector.

To a fan of silent movies, it's as enjoyable a part of revisiting the past as the movie itself.

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